[New post] Albert and Aidan Sykes

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Film English <donotreply@wordpress.com> Leiratkozás

jan. 15.

New post on Film English

Albert and Aidan Sykes

by kierandonaghy


This ELT lesson plan is designed around a short video by Story Corps in which a nine-year-old boy interviews his father, and the themes of family and racism. In the lesson students do a dictation, predict the answer to questions, listen to an interview, answer comprehension questions, watch two short videos, and speak about the videos.



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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Dictation, listening, watching two short videos, and speaking

Topic: Families and racism

Language: Vocabulary related to family

Materials: Two short videos

Downloadable materials: albert and aidan sykes lesson instructions


Step 1

Pre-teach the following vocabulary:
to fold
to unfold
to release
to go through your mind (to think)
to live out your dreams
to bring up kids
to give up on someone
wanna (informal contraction of want to or or want a)
gotta (informal contraction of have got to or want a)
a bunch of reasons (many reasons)
a blank canvas
a rough place
a fist
paint strokes
protests (demonstrations)

Step 2
Tell your students they are going to hear a nine-year-old boy interview his father.

Step 3

Dictate the following questions to your students:
• Do you remember what was going through your mind when you first saw me?
• Why do you take me to protests so much?
• Are you proud of me?
• What are your dreams for me?

Step 4

Pair your students. Get them to compare the questions they have written down. Check they have the correct questions.

Step 5

Ask your students to discuss what answers they think the father of a nine-year-old boy might give to the questions.

Step 6

Tell your students they are going to listen twice to the interview and that their task is to try to understand the father’s responses to his son’s questions.
Play the video but do not project the video onto a screen. Repeat.


Step 7

Ask your students to compare their answers with a partner.

Step 8

Hold a plenary discussion based on their answers to the questions, but do not indicate if their answers are correct or not.

Step 9

Tell your students that they are now going to watch a video of the interview in which they will see images as well as the transcript of the interview. As they watch they should check their answers to the questions. Play the video with both sound and image.

Step 10

Get feedback from your students on how accurate their answers were.

Step 11

Tell your students they are going to watch the video again. This time you will pause the video after every sentence. As they watch they should the speakers’ stress, intonation, linking and assimilation of words.
Play the video pausing after each sentence. Students comment on stress, intonation, linking and assimilation.

Step 12

Put your students into small groups and ask them to discuss the following questions:
• Did you like the interview? Why/why not?
• How did the interview make you feel?
• How would you describe the relationship between the father and his son?
• What does the video tell us about race relations in the USA?

Step 13

Hold a plenary discussion base don the questions from the previous stage.

Step 14

Tell your students that the interview is part of a campaign for people in the USA to share their stories organized by Story Corps which has the hashtag #whoweare. Tell them they are going to watch a short video which explains what the campaign is about. As they watch the video their task is to answer the following question:
What is the purpose of the #whoweare campaign?
Play the video.



Step 15

Get your students to discuss the purpose of the campaign and their opinion of it.


Ask your students to video their own stories about an experience of their own which amplifies love over hate, and empathy over fear. They should think of an appropriate story, write some notes, rehearse telling their story several times, and then record themselves using a mobile device. They should either send it a video file or upload it to a video-sharing site such as YouTube and send you a link. You watch the video and give them feedback on their pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.

Alternatively, as a more challenging task, students can interview a member of their family about an experience which amplifies love over hate, and empathy over fear. Give them this link to Story Corps which has a wide selection of questions to ask:


They should ask their questions in English. If their relative speaks English, they should answer in English. If they don’t speak English, they should answer in their own language, and the students should translate their answers into English and add subtitles using video editing software such as Windows Move Maker or iMove. Again, they should either send you a video file or a link to the video.

I hope you enjoy this ESL lesson.


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3rd Conditional situations

What Would You Have Done?

Read the situations on the left first. Write in what you would have done in the same situation. Then go around the class and see if anyone else would have reacted in the same way as you.

My reaction: Same as me:
My neighbours were playing loud music at 4am last night.
I was overcharged at the supermarket.
Last weekend, the waiter brought me cold soup.
Someone knocked on my door last week asking for money so they could eat.
On the bus recently, someone trod on my foot and said nothing.
I found a purse on the beach with $200 in – and an address.
I forgot my best friend’s birthday last month.
Our teacher told me I was the worst student in the class!

3rd Conditional

Third conditional and past modals advice

New Cutting Edge Intermediate Modules 11 and 12

What should the people have done in these situations? What would have happened if the people had taken those different actions? What should they do now?

“I started smoking just in the evenings when I went out drinking with my friends, who all smoke, but now I think I am addicted and smoke 20 a day”

“I left the country because I didn’t believe in doing military service, but that now means I can’t visit my family without being arrested”

“I have 30,000 dollars of student loans to pay back, but with the bad economy I can’t get a well-paid job”

“I was hungry and had no money to buy food, so I stole a sandwich from the corner shop. I thought I had escaped but the shopkeeper had seen me and I have been arrested for shoplifting”

“My parents refused their permission for me to get married when I was 17, so we went across the border to Scotland and got hitched. Now my family won’t speak to me”

“My crazy ex-boyfriend was following me around and making threats, so I started carrying a gun to protect myself. Unfortunately, the police stopped me for speeding and found the gun”

“I brought home a fish I had caught and gutted it in the kitchen when my son was there, but he was so disgusted that now he refuses to eat fish or meat”

“Before my mother went into hospital she had signed a statement saying that if she lost consciousness she wanted us to switch off the life support machine, but now I think she might have already had Alzheimer’s when she signed that document”

“I worked 50 hour weeks to finish a big project on time because I thought I would be able to take it easy for a while because there wasn’t much to do after the project finished, but now my boss and colleagues are making pointed comments about me taking long lunch breaks etc”

WTC/Tenerife, 1977 (disasters)

put Ss into 2 big groups: natural disasters, man-made disasters (on cards: locust invasion, tidal wave etc, Chernobyl, cyonide on the Tisza etc)

in groups s answer Q on p 52 Sss book

then read intro, check answer to Q1

write on the board: 911/1977, Tenerife

watch the videos


watch the first 2 minutes

What was their first reaction to the disaster?

How did they eventually survive?

Did they have any further experience that helped them save their lives?

How do you think more people would have survived the disasters?


Thanksgiving (jigsaw reading)


age: 16

level: A2

group size: 12

I designed this 45-minute-lesson especially for this group as they asked me to learn about Thanksgiving in the USA. It is a mixed-ability group, i.e. there are five students with developmental disorders (dyslexia, dysgraphia, or both). The group likes to go off the coursebook and talk about topics they are interested in. Luckily, I have enough freedom to do that.

Pre-reading (10’)

Do this Kahoot! to raise students’ awareness of the topic and vocabulary.


stop the game to ask questions or explain and discuss new words

While reading (25’)

Tell students now they are going to get some information about what is celebrated at Thanksgiving. The texts they will read are slightly different and focus on various aspects of Thanksgiving.

Give each student a text. (Text A should be given to slower students, as it is the shortest and the easiest one.) Students who have the same text sit in a bunch and read their texts (I got 4 groups of As, Bs and Cs). After reading the text, they have to answer questions they can from the list. When they have finished, get them to leave their groups so that they can answer all the questions on the list. (I got 4 groups of ABC)

Circulate to help them if they need and to check answers.


Find your group (A, B or C). Take a pen and sit down with your group.

Read your text.

Don’t worry about new words right now.

Discuss the answers with your group.

Only answer questions theat you can.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the answer to all the questions.

Stand up and form new groups, find students who read different text from yours. (or T groups them)

Answer all the questions now.



Thanksgiving Day is the fourth Thursday in November. It is a federal holiday, so schools, banks, and government offices are closed. Thanksgiving was the first holiday celebrated in America. It was first celebrated when the Wampanoag Indians and the pilgrims got together for a three-day feast and festival of fun.

Who were the pilgrims?

The pilgrims were a small group of people who sailed to North America from Plymouth (England) in order to start a new life. They sailed on the Mayflower ship and landed on in America. They wanted religious freedom.

What do they eat?

Today, families celebrate Thanksgiving by eating turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, yams, corn, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and an NFL football game are special Thanksgiving Day events.


What is Thanksgiving?

It is a bank holiday celebrated in November. The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 when the pilgrims invited the Indians to a three-day feast to celebrate the autumn harvest. Thanksgiving Day traditionally kicks off the ‘holiday season’ in the United States. The day was set in stone by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and approved by Congress in 1941. In fact, more people in the US celebrate Thanksgiving than do Christmas. Thanksgiving Day is secular (not church) holiday in a country that officially separates church and state so this probably makes sense.

Why do they eat turkey?

Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote a letter about that now-famous meal in 1621 which talked about a turkey hunt before the dinner. Another theory says the choice of turkey was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I who was eating dinner when she heard that Spanish ships had sunk on their way to attack England. Queenie was so happy with the news she asked for another turkey. Some say that early US settlers (pilgrims) roasted turkeys as they were inspired by her actions. Others say that because wild turkeys are native to North America, they were a natural choice for early settlers.


What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a very American public holiday. It means that schools, post offices and government offices are closed. It is celebrated in November every year. There are two versions of the origins of this holiday. One is thanks for the early settlers (pilgrims) arriving in America safely. On December the 4th, 1619, a group of English pioneers arrived at a place called Berkeley Hundred, in Virginia. The group made a promise that the day of their arrival should be a “day of thanksgiving” to God. The second version is the thanks given to Native Americans (Indians) for teaching the pilgrims how to catch eels and grow corn in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1941, President Roosevelt made Thanksgiving a federal holiday.

What do people do at Thanksgiving?

The main event of any Thanksgiving is the Thanksgiving dinner. It is traditional to have baked or roasted turkey with cranberry sauce, and gravy, so it is not a good time to be a turkey. Pumpkin pie is the most common dessert. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for traveling. It is a four-day or five-day weekend vacation for most schools and colleges, and many businesses and government workers get three or four days off. Thanksgiving is also the time when Christmas preparations begin. When Thanksgiving finishes, stores fill their shelves with Christmas goods.




Answer this list of questions.

When is Thanksgiving celebrated?

How long is the holiday nowadays?

When will be this year’s Thanksgiving Day?

Why was it first celebrated on 4th December 1619?

Who were invited to the celebration?

How long was the first celebration?

Can you send a letter on Thanksgiving day?

Can you go to a bank on Thanksgiving day?

What do people celebrate at Thanksgiving?

What’s more popular: Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Why did the pilgrims travel to America?

What veggies do people eat at Thanksgiving?

What are the 3 different explanations to eating turkey at Thanksgiving?

What happens after Thanksgiving is over?

True or false?

1 There is a Thanksgiving Parade organized by Macy’s on Thanksgiving Day.

2  The pilgrims arrived on a ship called Mayflower.

3 Federal, public and bank holidays have the same meaning.

4 Native Americans helped the pilgrims catch animals and grow plants.

Post-reading activities

1, 4 (10’)

2-3, 5-7 further classes

  1. Make an information sheet to Eskimos on Thanksgiving. Summarize all you’ve learnt about it and you think is important to know.
  1. Letter strings. Find and circle 7 English words in each line.




  1. Word recognition. Find and circle the words with the same spellings.
  2. celebrate

celebrate        celebrated        celebration        celebrity

  1. government

governing        governments        governers        government

  1. religious

religion            religiousness        religious        religions

  1. Home assignment

Read the texts again and look up new words. (students need to get all 3 texts)

Search the net:

What happens at Thanksgiving in the White House nowadays?

How long did the journey to America take back then? How long is it nowadays?

What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yam?

Can you think of a similar secular holiday in Hungary?

  1. We are going to organize a Thanksgiving party on 24th November. Design a menu for this event.
  1. Creative writing:
  2. A) you are a Native American. Write an 80 word diary entry about December 4th 1619.
  3. B) you are one of the Pilgrim Fathers write an 80 word diary entry about January 29th 1619.
  1. Dramatize the story of Thanksgiving:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Wws0V5bU78JqxK06eo4SNZkOMi6dKl3m8PVi0pWLOic/edit Students can choose music they like for each scene